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Fr en ch B K Pr es en t s

The Innovasion Issu e


Fr en ch B K Pr es en t s

The Innovasion Issu e

«If at first the idea is not absurd, then there will be no hope for it» Albert Einstein

innovation . a corporate slogan, overused. a hopeful wink. a shadow of doubt. a leap of faith. crazy enough to be crazy. right enough to be true.

here, in our time of confluence and change, innovation takes on a new cur ve--- a collective march towards per vasive better ness. singular innovation becomes now a mass

«innov asi on.»

ours is a playing field of experimental optimism, an adventurous tension between what is and what can be.

ja c lyn@thereis nos ub jec t. c om

a lis a @f renc hb k. c om b enja m in@f renc hb k. c om

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thinkers & makers

Pete Rojas

VP of Strategy, AOL Brand Group and Founder of Engadget, Gizmodo, Joystiq, RCRD LBL, and gdgt 1. Personal mantra? If you make failure an impossibility, you make mediocrity an inevitability  2. Tell me 3 things about you no one knows (ok so some people might know, but tell me 3 mind-blowing things anyway) - I was in a post-punk band that got some airplay on BBC Radio 1 back when I lived in England - I hold dual citizenship with the US and Peru - I was kicked out of boarding school 3. What was your «Ah-Ha» moment that got you started on your project / business? I guess it probably makes sense to go back to 2001. I had just lost my job as an editor at Red Herring, a business of technology magazine, and a friend who worked at Wired successfully convinced me to start a blog, arguing that it would be the best way for an unemployed writer to keep their name out there 4. Where does your inspiration lie? Seeing Antioch Arrow play in a garage in Leominster, MA with five other people in the summer of 1994 pretty much changed my life. Everything I thought about the world had been wrong up until that point 5. What do you want to create and cultivate this year? I’d like to create and cultivate some different kinds of thinking at AOL about what it means to be a media company  www.aol.com

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«if you make failure an impossibility, you make mediocrity an inevitability» Pete Rojas


thinkers & makers

Kate Proulx Founder, Showpony Brand 1. Personal mantra? Fortune favors the brave 2. Tell me 3 things about you no one knows (ok so some people might know, but tell me 3 mind-blowing things anyway) - I’ve been designing and building websites since I was 13. It’s how I got into design! - I had never listened to a Beatles record until I was 22, then I listened to their entire discography in order - I won an online model search for Smashbox Cosmetics when I was younger, but when I arrived in LA with a freshly shaved head, they refused to give me the contract I had won 3. What was your «Ah-Ha» moment that got you started on your project / business? I had been at a digital agency, working at a computer all day, for about three years when I realized that I wasn’t feeling creatively fulfilled. It made me think-- when have I felt that way? And I realized the moments I recalled the most were the countless times as a teenager when I was sitting on my bedroom floor listening to music, making something, anything, that felt like I was in creative control. When I was younger I was constantly teaching myself new skills and trying new crafts, without the pressure of anything having to be «good.» So why not pick up a new creative hobby? I bought leather-making materials and my first hide on a whim, and without much expectation I came back to my apartment in Brooklyn and put music on and got to work. There was so much trial and error, a lot of learning from my mistakes, and doing research in books and online. I was only making small things— card holders, coin purses— but I was excited, and happy to tell friends about what I was making. I kept at it and started to figure out how to do things the correct way, and my own techniques and preferences for doing things. Most days I’d come home from work and go directly into working on my leather projects. I moved onto making bags, wallets and custom work for friends. In the spring, I went on a road trip through Tennessee, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, states that are full of western heritage, vintage leather goods, and lots of the «do it your damn self!» attitude. It was incredibly inspiring. On the trip I realized that I couldn’t wait to get home and keep working with the leather, and that’s when I knew I wanted to keep moving the Showpony brand forward and make it more legitimate. When I’m working, it feels just like sitting on my bedroom floor as a teenager, being in creative control 4. Where does your inspiration lie? Tough women. Pieces of America’s history. Anyone who wakes up and does what they love for a living. Travel, joy and wonder. Riding motorcycles. Learning or teaching myself something new. Making something. Connecting with other people.  Feeling understood  5. What do you want to create and cultivate this year? I would love to continue the momentum that Showpony has going right now; doing holiday fairs, launching the web store and learning more about business. I want to take more risks, and the ultimate would be to move towards becoming my own boss and leaving agency life behind! Diane Von Furstenberg is always saying, «Become the woman you want to be!» I want to keep doing that this year showponybrand.com

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standards

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thinkers & makers

1. Personal mantra? Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined 2. Tell me 3 things about you no one knows (ok so some people might know, but tell me 3 mind-blowing things anyway) - I was born in Harlem, the daughter of an Irish-American college professor and Persian Poet/New York City taxi driver  - I learned to drive at age 11 in my dad’s cab. I’m still the worst driver but best parallel parker of my friends - I have stage fright, and to over come it before a talk, I say the Gettysburg Address out loud 3. What was your «Ah-Ha» moment that got you started on your project / business?

Soraya Darabi Co-Founder, Zady

In the winter of 2011, after learning and getting excited about what we were both up to through Facebook, my Zady co-founder, Maxine, and I reconnected after about a decade apart. It was meant to be just a catch-up of old high school friends. What we didn’t know at the time was that not only would it be the rekindling of a friendship that had begun 15 years earlier in Minneapolis, but it would also be the beginning of a journey to launch a company that we hope will fundamentally change how we all approach fashion. It began with a discussion of The Bootstrap Project, the nonprofit organization Maxine established to bring sustainable economic development and revive craft traditions in the developing world. While working together and learning more about the exceptionally talented artisans behind the crafts, we couldn’t help but think about the origins of the rest of the products that entered our lives. We passed articles back and forth feverishly as we began to fully understand the impact that our own fast-fashion ways had on the world. We decided to come together using our respective knowledge of supply chain and digital mediums to provide an alternative— a destination of beautifully curated products including womenswear, menswear and a collection of items for the home, where every single piece has both a traceable origin and a rich story. This has been a very personal journey for both of us. Growing up together in Minneapolis, we were raised to treat people fairly and to seek out quality. These are the values we hold dear. As members of this generation, we also feel that together, consumers have an impact. With our association with The Bootstrap Project, we are committed to highlighting beautiful craft everywhere it is found. Five percent of all sales on Zady go towards Bootstrap to help train new artisans, expand their programming to revive artistic traditions and create meaningful economic development. Through the power of the Web we can connect to like-minded people. Together we can build a unique destination with products and stories discovered by Zady users across the world. 4. Where does your inspiration lie? Our inspiration lies in the stories of the brands we showcase.  Whether it’s Rose in Zambia or Karl in L.A., every story is one that deserves to be told and we are happy to bring those deserving stories to the market   5. What do you want to create and cultivate this year? I want to create relationships with experts of industry who can help us shape Zady.  We want to be the best online retailer we can be, and eventually the global destination for people who care about the origins of their products www.zady.com

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thinkers & makers

Shamus Jones

Executive Briner

1. Personal mantra? Reciprocity is key to success 2. Tell me 3 things about you no one knows (ok so some people might know, but tell me 3 mind-blowing things anyway) - I’m a secret cat lady - I really like socks - The new Justin Timberlake record rules 3. What was your «Ah-Ha» moment that got you started on your project / business? The time a forager brought 150 pounds of chanterelle mushrooms to a restaurant I was working at and we oil poached them to preserve the season’s bounty 4. Where does your inspiration lie? I’m inspired by new and unique ideas, and that’s what we bring to market 5. What do you want to create and cultivate this year? We are opening a restaurant in 3 weeks, but I’m also looking forward to starting another manufacturing company in December! www.brooklynbrineco.com

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higher good

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perspectives

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thinkers & makers

1. Personal mantra?

Jenni Radosevich

Spot style you love and do-it-yourself! 2. Tell me 3 things about you no one knows (ok so some people might know, but tell me 3 mind-blowing things anyway)

Founder, www.ispydiy.com

- I caught Justin Timberlake’s t-shirt at an ‘N Sync concert - I used to rip out and take the craft page in the Highlight magazine at the dentist - I changed my name to Jenni with an «i» when I was 11 to be different 3. What was your «Ah-Ha» moment that got you started on your project / business? When dip dying and friendship bracelets came back on trend, I used the techniques I learned as a kid to get the look for less. I knew I had something at that moment!  4. Where does your inspiration lie? Honestly everywhere, when you change your mentality from buying to DIYing, you look at everything and start to think «I can make that» 5. What do you want to create and cultivate this year? I would love to continue to grow my site and encourage more and more people to get crafty!  www.ispydiy.com

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thinkers & makers

«Trust your vision. Don’t get comfortable. Work hard but efficiently» Tara Pellettier

1. Personal mantra? Trust your vision. Don’t get comfortable. Work hard but efficiently 2. Tell me 3 things about you no one knows (ok so some people might know, but tell me 3 mind-blowing things anyway) - I love 80’s easy listening music, ballads, and elevator music. Commodores, Atlantic Starr, Bonnie Tyler, Phil Collins… - I regularly wish on numerological instances in the day, especially 11:11 - I generally only pack a bar of soap or a tin of baking soda when I travel. Very little product in my bags 3. What was your «Ah-Ha» moment that got you started on your project / business? We tried handmade soap for the first time. Enough said, there was no going back to commercial, detergent based stuff 4. Where does your inspiration lie? In problem solving and making magic out of ordinary things. When all different types of people react positively to the things we put into the world. In the littlest things, we sweat the small stuff 5. What do you want to create and cultivate this year? A balance between the business stuff and the creative stuff. We want to finish an album we’ve been working on for a while and perform out more often. And I want to get my motorcycle license www.meowmeowtweet.com

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Tara Pelletier Co-founder, Meow Meow Tweet


intentions

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thinkers & makers

1. Personal mantra?

John Foley

CEO and Founder, Peloton

Surround yourself with people better than you 2. Tell me 3 things about you no one knows (ok so some people might know, but tell me 3 mind-blowing things anyway) - I spearfished hog snapper with a Hawaiian-sling while skindiving twice a week for 10 years in Key Largo, Florida - I watched the Branch Davidian fire in Waco, TX from the roof of a manufacturing plant where I worked for 5 years - I’m the opposite of a germaphobe. I touch just about anything and I seldom wash my hands   3. What was your «Ah-Ha» moment that got you started on your project / business? When I realized that the Amazon Kindle Fire was priced below cost because of the digital content business model. Although instructor-led class «content» was booming in the fitness category, no hardware businesses had transitioned to subscription digital content business models 4. Where does your inspiration lie? I find life inspiring.  Every day I wake up to a great family, in a great city, surrounded by great friends and great colleagues (it helps that I’m able to stack the deck on the latter). I’m probably the happiest person I know.  With this positive outlook, I find inspiration in everyday things and everyday people   5. What do you want to create and cultivate this year? We want to create a global lifestyle brand around health and wellness. We have created one of the coolest consumer products at the nexus of fitness, technology and digital content. In the next twelve months we need to bring this product to market in a way that properly represents it’s ability to impact people’s lives  www.pelotoncycle.com

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decisions

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elevations

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thinkers & makers

Claire Mazur, Erica Cerulo Co-founders, Of a Kind

1. Personal mantra? Claire: I’m not sure I have a mantra per se, but I am constantly reminding myself to be present. It’s not always easy but it is always effective

Erica: Borrowing from my dad: «Be yourself» 2. Tell me 3 things about you no one knows (ok so some people might know, but tell me 3 mind-blowing things anyway) Claire:

Erica:

- I grew up doing community theatre with Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Rec and Johnny Gallagher of Newsroom

- I have 2 tattoos

- I run 3 miles every day before work. Which will always be shocking to me because I was the least athletic kid I knew growing up

- I’ve talked to Justin Bieber on the phone

- I got an internship at DKNY when I was 16 after running into Donna Karan at one of her stores and telling her how I basically wanted to be her when I grew up

- Suri Cruise is my ultimate style icon

3. What was your «Ah-Ha» moment that got you started on your project / business? Claire: I was applying for a job at 20x200, a company that I find totally inspiring for the way they give access to both artists and audiences through a really thoughtful business model. I realized there was an opportunity to do the same thing for young fashion designers Erica: I think coming to the realization that these sorts of industry silos like publishing, retail and marketing, don’t matter to consumers. They are happy to buy things from you AND read your content— they just want to interact with things that feel authentic and that speak to them in a real way 4. Where does your inspiration lie? Claire: Other people. I have so many professional heroes when it comes to building the company, and all of my best style ideas come from my friends or strangers on the streets. It’s one of the reasons I love living in NYC— I encounter exciting individuals daily Erica: Interacting with people who are a whole lot more creative than I am 5. What do you want to create and cultivate this year? Claire: I want to create and cultivate a brand that is constantly evolving so that our audience is always discovering people and products that feel fresh, new and personal Erica: I want to create and cultivate a lasting business that means something to people— to build something significant that people want to be a part of www.ofakind.com

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focus

{ c/loud project redux }

by Benjamin Løzninger / FrenchBK

«It is through obliterating the dull bluntness of ocular reiteration, the freeing up of our mental spaces in the context of everyday constraints, through the true living of a perpetual «head in the clouds» that we find relief. Perhaps hope. At the very least, a moment, a smile, a breath. Benjamin Lozninger’s C/loud Series asks only that we pause, with a wry smile and a pitched brow, as we acknowledge what we already know to be true -- that the freedom promised in our everyday lives is only as real as our ability to see the difference between what is, and what is true.» Mar go t C u t i vet, ALTAR S M a ga zi ne

French-born and now Brooklyn-based, Benjamin Løzninger is an art director, graphic designer, photographer, musician, video editor, sound engineer, illustrator, and multi-media artist. Trained at France’s prestigious École des Arts Décoratifs, Løzninger made his first video, a soaring sci-fi rock fantasy, at the tender age of 10. Now, as an artist and graphist, he helped launch Paris’s famous musical odyssey agency, Super! which, among many things, produces the Pitchfork Paris festival. In 2013 Løzninger co-founded FrenchBK, a creative collective focused on innovations in the ever-blurring lines between the culture of digital storytelling, experimental brand experiences and street art. { c/loud} is a France-based street art project he is now hoping to bring to NYC. Here, Løzninger displays both the real-world installations alive in his native France and the dreamscapes he envisions for New York and Brooklyn...

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sometimes when it’s «different» i’m willing to accept it as it comes, because it’s just great anyway it’s precious and fucking great frenchBK


C + C = The Innovasion Issue